Do you support FG Award of $195Million maritime security contract to an Israeli firm?

 Frances Ehiguese (Int’l Vice President, CILT)

You do not know the magnitude of a particular given problem until you are the recipient of it. Ordinarily, government should know the security challenges facing a particular sector and in attempt to solve the problem take the most appropriate action amongst available alternatives. My only worry is why give such a sensitive contract to a private concern to handle instead of a well-established government agency that may be more qualified and equipped. Many will query the rationale for the choice of private organization as previous experience appears not to serve the interest of the nation.

 

Engr. Greg Ogbeifun (President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria)

To me, that approach is faulty. One would have thought that such an engagement of a foreign security outfit would have been done by our own security agencies.In other words, whichever agency of government that is responsible for security on our territorial waters should have been the one to bring in foreign technical support that it will need to police our maritime domain. The Navy, we all know is in charge of policing our waters. So if the Navy had been the one bringing in the Israeli partner, then our local content policy would have been respected. It is just like in the maritime sector, when local operators get contracts they don’t have the capacity to execute, they simply go into a Joint Venture with a foreign partner to get the job done. But the Navy didn’t bring in the foreign partner; to me the entire process is faulty 

 

Kayode Farinto (National Publicity Secretary, ANLCA)

This government is not competent and we cannot continue to window-dress it, we are not saying our waters should not be policed, but what is NIMASA doing, what is the Navy doing and what is their constitutional role, instead of giving out this contract, why not call the Navy and NIMASA and empower them. Don't forget that giving out security of our waterways to an Israeli firm will have a side effect, they would now know the topography of our country, they will not only give you security, they will look at your weak points and this is not good, it is like opening up our territorial integrity to a foreigner, before you know it, the Israeli would bring out a map of Nigeria and tell you where is porous on our waterways and where we can be attacked. The NIMASA, Navy and the Maritime Police should be brought together and given their needed equipment to work with, I even prefer the contract given to Tompolo to this one proposed by government, Tompolo is a Nigerian and he would never sell his country out, despite the fact that he is from Niger Delta.

 

Lawrence Bolade (Licensed Customs Agent)

I think this is a mere duplication of security functions, if we have an effective Navy, we don’t need such a contract, if our Navy are up to the task, then they should be given all the necessary encouragement for them to perform their duty. We cannot just conclude that the Navy alone cannot handle security on our waterways.  I believe that if they are given the necessary encouragement, be it shortage of manpower and equipment, let them be given the necessary tools, I don’t believe in that notion that the Navy alone cannot police our waterways, I believe that probably NIMASA still wants to hold onto their pet Coast Guard. I personally believe the Navy can do this job, and if you look at it now, NIMASA is still collaborating with the Navy in an MoU.

 Ganiyu Tarzan (ATBOWATON)

I don’t want to make comments on that issue because it is a government issue and I don’t work with the ministry of defence. I don’t have knowledge of defence and security. Whoever wants to give the security system to an outsider must have his reasons and the Navy that is saying that they are not happy with that shows that they are up to the task of securing our waterways. The Nigerian Navy are the ones who are supposed to protect our waters and if you look at it they are right because American waterways are not protected by outsiders. Whatever they are not doing well, I think the government should point it to the Navy.

 

Paully Shedrack Nwaosu (TCIP)

I don’t support giving out the security of our waterways to an outsider. But in this country we don’t trust ourselves, and what we do in this country is whatever that will benefit our own selfish interest. Talking about this issue you might not understand what transpired between them. That is what we are saying about this clearing agents’ complex, you want to sell a complex where you have over 2, 000firms and you want to sell it because of the little thing you will get. So giving out the security of our waterways to an Israeli company I don’t think it is a welcomed development. It is not as if Israelis are better than our Navy here, so what I am suspecting is that possibly someone is gaining from there.

 

Jonathan Nicol (Shippers Association)

I am not in the position to talk about the NIMASA’s profile because this is something that the government need I don’t think the DG of NIMASA can on his own direct foreign companies to handle national issues like the security of our waterways. But I think that Nigeria is very much interested in this private partnership and they should draw a line to the areas they will give to the private individuals or companies to handle in our security issues. I think they have issues that we don’t know and if for any reason the government does that, they have their reasons for doing that. There are certain things you and I don’t know for the government to come out to the extent to give out the security of our waterways to a private firm, it means so many things have been happening which we don’t even know. That is the way we will look at it sometimes the government cannot be totally wrong.

 

Captain Tajudeen Alao (Master Mariner)

It is not necessary, that money they are giving out can buy patrol boats. It can buy 50 intervention boats for the Navy and it will keep the boys at sea and the issue of piracy will be reduced. All the outlets will be totally manned and then we will go and rest. So that thing is misplaced priority, we don’t need them to put satellite or anything for us it is our physical presence that matters. We need more naval patrol in our waters mostly intervention boats because we are not at war. Gun boats can move in if there is any need for that. If we have minimum of 60 boats in the waters, it will solve all these problems. This year I want more government state support and they should collaborate with the stakeholders. We need the political will of the state to support what the stakeholders are doing.  

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